Finance Finance News Australian stocks stem losses on jobless figures release
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Australian stocks stem losses on jobless figures release

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It’s another bad day for stocks with the Australian market taking a lead from Wall Street which was troubled by oil price weakness.

The Australian market slumped more than one per cent in early trade.

However shares showed some resilience following the release of unemployment data that met market expectations.

The benchmark All Ordinaries index is down 0.58  per cent to 5206.5 with oil and resources major BHP Billiton down 1.4 per cent to $28.97.

The banks have also been hit with Westpac down 0.53 per cent to $32.35 and National Australia Bank down 0.48 per cent at $32.14.

• Oil prices take another dive
• 
Consumers set for more gloom on jobs

Woodside fell 1.7 per cent and Oil Search was 1.8 per cent lower.

Rio Tinto had fallen 1.7 per cent and BHP Billiton was down 0.9 per cent.

Fortescue Metals Group had lost 2.5 per cent.

However, gold miner Newcrest was up 1.5 per cent.

Telstra was also offsetting the market’s fall, rising 1.3 per cent, along with the healthcare sector.

Sonic Health was up 2.7 per cent and Ansell had gained 0.4 per cent.

The major banks were all losing ground, led by a fall of 0.5 per cent for ANZ.

Declining consumer confidence is another driver of the market weakness and in a demonstration of the effect of oil price falls oil and gas producer Santos is to cut its exploration and development spending by $700 million to $2 billion for 2015.

Its shares fell 4.9 per cent in response.

Oil refiner Caltex expects its refining profits to slump to between $10 million and $30 million, down from $171 million last year.

On Wall Street the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.55 per cent to 17,537 and in London the FTSE index lost 0.5 per cent to 6500.

The Australian dollar made up some ground following the release of the unemployment figures and was trading at US83.4c.